Speech by Minister De Bruijn on the Netherlands' National Day at Expo Dubai

Speech by Minister De Bruijn at the official opening of the Netherlands Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020, by King Willem-Alexander. 

''Your Majesties, Your Excellencies, Distinguished guests,

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Netherlands Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. As the consul-general said, it is a special day today, because it is National Flag Day. The day people in every corner of the United Arab Emirates raise its national flag to honour the founders of their state.

I wish you all a happy Flag Day!

Let me take this opportunity to share with you that I never thought I would see the day when we would literally create water out of thin air.

Yet here we are.

Just a few steps down, we can see the solar-powered SunGlacier rain shower at work: a Dutch innovation that allows us to extract hundreds of litres of water every day from desert air.

That is what the Netherlands Pavilion is all about: creating innovative, ready-to-use solutions to global challenges like water scarcity, the energy transition and food security.

These are challenges that connect us with the UAE.

Our two countries are small in size but we are both major players in trade and innovation.

We share the conviction that we have to rethink the way we use our scarce resources, so we can meet our peoples’ growing demand for water, energy and food.

This pavilion, built and designed by Dutch architects, provides much-needed solutions on a micro scale.

It generates its own energy, it creates its own water, and it grows its own food.

Yet it will leave no footprint.

It is mind-boggling that, after March 2022, nothing will remain of what you see around you now. Every last scrap of the pavilion will be given a new purpose, a new life.

The beautiful art it contains amplifies the pavilion’s message.

You will smell scents that take you to one of the oldest polders in the Netherlands.

You will see indoor clouds that last only a few moments.

And hear time ticking away.

This recyclable miniature world is an inspiration for all of us.

It is almost 50 years ago to the day since the United Arab Emirates was founded.

In less than half a century, it has developed into a bustling hub of international business. A gateway between East and West, with a booming economy and a broad-minded, forward-looking people.

And as the Emirates turn 50, we have brought with us at this trade mission, fifty of our most excellent companies that are active the field of sustainable urban development.

The Emirates themselves are launching 50 projects for the next five decades. These include the 10X10 programme. The Netherlands is delighted to be one of the 10 priority markets with which the UAE aims to increase trade by 10 per cent.

Just yesterday, I had the honour together with my counterpart minister Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi of signing a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a Joint Economic Committee between our two countries. The agreement enables us to strengthen our partnership in areas such as water efficiency, crop production and renewable energy.

This milestone will help us deepen our relationship beyond Expo 2020 Dubai.

To conclude: here at the Netherlands Pavilion, we are reaching out to the Gulf and the rest of the world. We are providing a platform where people can come together, learn from each other and inspire one another.

The challenges we face are interconnected. So we must stay connected too.

Welcome to the Netherlands Pavilion!

Thank you.''